• City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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City Council Minutes

October 12, 2004
 

The City Council met in regular session on Tuesday, October 12, 2004 Council Chambers.  A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Knox, Cephas, Brooks, and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.  Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 27, 2004 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

Mayor Rippons said according to the City Charter, the Council must approve Rescue Fire Company's selection for the chief positions. They have elected Jeff Hurley as Chief, Martin Pepper as 1st Assistant Chief, and Bob Phillips as 2nd Assistant Chief. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the slate. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Chief Jeff Hurley said he received a letter today concerning their Station 2 location at Robinson Warehousing.  Mr. Robinson has to move them from their current location because he has leased the entire warehouse where RFC was leasing some space.  During the past two years, they have been using approximately 6000 to 7000 sq.ft.  He has been charging them for approximately 3000 sq.ft. because the entire warehouse was not rented. They need 5000 sq.ft. to store the equipment that they have stored at that station. It is the recommendation of the RFC Officers to proceed forward and have the City Attorney prepare a contract to rent the space for two-years, renewable for one year after that.  Currently the Cambridge Yacht Club is paying to lease space for the City's Christmas lights. There is enough room with racks being made that the City will not have to relocate the lights.  RFC has $9,000 in their budget for space rental.  The cost will increase from $750 to $1250 per month for the additional space.  They will require $6,000 over what was originally budgeted. The cost is lower than other locations they have obtained quotes from.  Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the additional funds necessary and to enter into a contract for $15,000 a year for a two‑year lease for the space recommended by Chief Hurley. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Mayor Rippons said the City has received a request for annexation for a parcel at Christ Rock. Gary Newcomb said there is only one property on Rock Drive (owned by Mr. and Mrs. Stafford) which is in the City limits. When the house was being built, MUC agreed to run the water line and bear the cost of extending the line which amounted to a little over $21,000.  There are not any sewer lines on Rock Drive.  The property owner requesting water services now, Mrs. Greene, lives across from the Staffords. City Code requires that any extension of service to properties outside the City limits has to be approved by the City Commissioners.  From MUC's standpoint, the waterline is in place and it would be a matter of a service installation. Mayor Rippons said Mrs. Greene has requested annexation. At a recent meeting with the County, the City has discussed annexing the entire Christ Rock area. Mrs. Greene needs expedited consideration at this time.  Approximately seven properties could be served by the line.  The Staffords were charged $3,000 for their portion.  There is also a tap-in fee of $500 which doubles if you are outside the City limits.  Todd Taylor, Planning and Zoning Coordinator, said he met with Joyce DeLaurentis, Community Development Director for Maryland Rural Development Corporation, to discuss annexation procedures, available grants, and cost options to extend sewer connections.  Representatives from the City will meet with Mrs. Greene and give Council a report at the next meeting. Rob Collison said Jim Michael held meetings to determine if the residents wanted to be annexed. The vast majority would agree to annexation if there was grant money available and it would not be a substantial expense to them.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Status of the Urban Renewal Improvement Project Partially Funded by the Community Development Block Grant Program-This public hearing was advertised in The Daily Banner on Wednesday, October 6, 2004.  The State of Maryland awarded the City of Cambridge a grant in the amount of $240,000.  The bulk of the funding was used to purchase and demolish 10 buildings (18 units) on Schoolhouse Lane.  There are several other properties the City is looking into. 

Portia Johnson-Ennels, asked what the Council had decided to do with the property. Mayor Rippons said the City held meetings at different facilities in the local area to invite public input.  A vote was taken of the community group and they elected to move forward with single-family affordable housing.  The prior Council went forward with an RFP requesting proposals for site utilization.  Two groups came forward with proposals. Cambridge Development Corporation was approved to be the lead agency for development of affordable housing.  Ms. Ennels said considering the history of that piece of property, and the condition of the two streets now, there is still a lot of demolition that needs to be done. To put home ownership there would be in poor taste. Nobody is coming out in that section wanting to re-do it to make it very livable.  It is not a decent area for someone to want to build a home.  If they could demolish some of the other houses and make it affordable rental property, that would be a better deal. There have been two murders there and there is also a bar on the street.  Mrs. Ennels said as a taxpayer and voting citizen, she can ask Council to rescind their decision.  Until the neighborhood, which would also include Bethel Street and Cross Street, is cleaned up too, why would you ask someone to put in more than $100,000 for a piece of property that the value would go down instead of up.  Mayor Rippons said the Council predicated their decision based on the meetings that were held and the response from the community. Two people have come forward and said if the City is going to build on Schoolhouse Lane, they will build new homes.  One is on Cross Street and the other is another property the City owns.  People have told Mayor Rippons they have lived there all their life and want to live out there days where they grew up.  Ms. Ennels said the City has not kept up with cutting the grass and picking up trash.  It is just as bad as when there were houses there.

Commissioner Cephas said he attended two of the meetings at the Empowerment Center.  The consensus of the people at the meeting was low income affordable homes. When he first saw the demolition going on, he thought it would be a good location to extend Waugh Church's cemetery.   Mrs. Victoria Stanley said the same thing but nobody came up with a proposal to purchase the property.  His personal opinion is that you are talking about moderate income houses being built. He personally would not want to build a house there. He doesn't see any developers rushing to build on that particular piece of property.  He applauds Carlton Stanley and his group for extending the olive branch and offering to build low income homes there.  If it is the consensus of the people who attended the meetings that they would like to build or purchase a home in that neighborhood, then he guesses he has to say to let it be.  He doesn't think anyone at the meetings was prepared to purchase a home there.  There are more properties in the City that are available where someone could build a nice low-income development.  It would benefit more people than Schoolhouse Lane.  He feels that the citizens of Cambridge have the right to live in a decent neighborhood. 

Commissioner Brooks said that she has said from the very beginning that Schoolhouse Lane is not an area to raise a family.  She has spoken to several people who put their name on the so-called list of people interested in the houses.  A lot of them want to rescind their names.  They were told that a bar would not be existing across the street.  She would invite anyone to visit Schoolhouse Lane at 1 o'clock in the morning on a weekend and see the neighborhood they are proposing to someone just because they are not in a high income bracket.  The City has lots of property in other areas where they can put some very nice low- to moderate-income housing and children can live in a decent neighborhood.

Carlton Stanley said he has a group called C-Span Development Group consisting of a contractor and financing specialist.  They are putting forward all financing to do the project.  They were hoping that once they got Schoolhouse Lane done, they would be able to do the whole complete area with new homes.  Right now they are building in Delmar and Cristfield. They are giving their clients decent homes, yards, curb and gutter, off-street parking, etc.

Commissioner Knox said if the project were to proceed, Mr. Stanley stated that hopefully other homes would come into the area. Mr. Stanley said he spoke to four other homeowners across the street that were ready to give their homes up.  Commissioner Knox said developers are coming forward and they don't have everything together. We can't build our community this way.  He is 100 percent for affordable homes.

Portia Johnson-Ennels said the last election put a lot of changes in our City. It changed the boundary lines, the ward lines, etc. because of the census.  When the census was done 10 years ago, the elected officials said that they would come in and improve the Second Ward. The Second Ward still has bad streets, bad houses, bad lighting, bad water, and bad drainage. Instead of down at the waterfront, she asked when Council was going to come to the people who have lived here before Jenkins Creek was ever thought about and do something for them.  Commissioner Knox said he agrees with her 100 percent.  Fifty-five percent of the properties in Cambridge are rental properties. There is something wrong with that picture. He thinks wherever they build in the community, they have to make sure they build in the right place. Commissioner Brooks said they have to start somewhere. She would like to see them start on Leonard Lane with low income houses. Commissioner Knox said in the last four years his water bill went up, his property taxes went up, and he can't ride on a good street in the City.  It is not one isolated area when it comes to the streets. We all have our share of problems. This Council will do everything they can to correct the problems but they can't do it overnight.  Commissioner Brooks said she wants to see low income and moderate housing all over the City.  She has suggested that the City designate a certain portion of the houses being built on Race Street to low and moderate income housing. Other communities set aside a certain amount of housing. 

Mayor Rippons said there is roughly $90,000 remaining in the grant funding.  Council will entertain any other suggestions for acquisition and/or demolition.  There are constraints in the grant agreement on how the funding is to be used and the ultimate use of the property.

Vicky Stanley asked about the houses on Pine Street that Council talked about demolishing at prior meetings.  She asked if Council could purchase those houses, demolish them, and then develop the land.  Mayor Rippons said in his opinion, it could certainly be used for that.  She doesn't feel that Schoolhouse Lane is a good place for housing. The neighborhood is not conducive to good family living.   Mrs. Stanley asked if Council had to honor the commitment of the prior Council.  Rob Collison said if the prior Council entered into contractual agreement with another party, they would see if the contractual relationship was formalized in writing. Generally, they could revisit a decision on a grant application. The specifics on them granting a certain developer development rights would have to be looked at more closely. 

Nobody else asked to speak.  The public hearing was closed.

Discuss Marina Expansion Project and Location of Proposed Lighthouse at Long Wharf-David Pritchett said they made some modifications to the plans they presented before. He presented a diagram of the original plan. A lot of people voiced concerns about loosing visibility from High Street. The plans were reconfigured with the lighthouse located at the end of the marina.  The fuel dock is near the opening of the marina which is much friendlier to the boating public. The design layout has been well received. The Yacht Club is almost a 50/50 partner in this and they like the design. The construction documents will be prepared two ways to compare costs. 

Marti Tomey, High Street, asked about the 42 percent of the slips that would belong to the Yacht Club.  Currently the Yacht Club has a problem with parking during their affairs.  She asked about where the City is going to put the parking for all this expansion. David Pritchett said there are several options. As far as calculated requirements for the parking spaces, they are able to meet it. In practicality, it is not great. One thing they are looking at is extending parking near the old duck walk.  Marti Tomey said she doesn't feel it is the City's responsibility to provide parking for the Yacht Club and provide them usage of slips that are private. David Pritchett said the City is not providing the slips. It is at their expense. Marti Tomey said it is City property being leased to the Yacht Club and they don't have adequate parking. She feels this should be considered prior to any future expansion of the marina.

Dave Thatcher, Locust Street, asked why David Pritchett prefers fixed piers over floating piers. David Pritchett said it is not a cut-and-dry yes or no.  He talked to other marinas with floating piers.  It really boils down to preference. Some areas with extremely rough water are limited.  A new design makes floating piers able to handle larger seas on an average of three to four feet.  That is the maximum we sustain here. Under a fixed one, one negative factor is that you can have silt and then you have to incur the cost of dredging.  Swells roll under a floating dock.  Rob Collison said the plans show floating exterior and fixed interior.  It will be bid both ways.

Dave Thatcher asked them to consider making the finger piers the full length of the slip.  With the winds that go through the marina now, he has seen people with double engines have a tough time.  David Pritchett said the only ones that are designed at full length are the ADA required slips.  The finger piers are square, they do not taper, they have standing pile, and they go out to the midway point. They are much friendlier. 

Wayne Warner, High Street, asked if there has been a use proposed or accepted for the lighthouse.  What might go inside would affect its position.  He would prefer that it be put at the entrance to the marina.  David Pritchett said the thing they are leaning against heaviest is for a dockmaster's facility. Wayne Warner said anything that blocks a good public view is self-defeating.  People are coming here for the uncluttered openness which we are very quickly closing down. People are using that area to keep their minds straight and it is terribly important to have some open space.

David Pritchett said the whole concept was started because the breakwater is completely collapsed and cannot be repaired. The latest cost estimate to replace it is around $1.5 million.  First the breakwater will be built. Then they will demolish the outer wall as it is now.  Then the construction will start on the interior.

Terry Wright, Mill Street, asked where the slip renters will park. Mayor Rippons said the duck walk area is a consideration.  Even with the marina expansion, the City has adequate parking per the standards. It may not be practical, but it does meet the standards. David Pritchett said the expansion increases the capacity of the basin by about 50 percent. Even with the 230 slips they have right now, on weekends when everything is in full use, they have yet to have to park people in the stripped off pattern within the parking lot. It is amazing how little parking a marina requires. Unfortunately, most boats do not go out very much.  If they do go out, it is at staggered times.  He is fully confident that the parking will be adequate.

Ann Strauss, Algonquin Road, said parking isn't really a problem except when the Yacht Club has a function and then they take up all the parking spaces and it is a problem to the boaters.  David Pritchett said a large percentage of the addition is in the anticipation of transient boaters who do not have vehicles. 

David Pritchett said the looked at a feasibility study. In order to make the marina self-sustaining financially, it takes a certain ratio of slip rentals. They are picking up 94 slips on the City's side.  A gentleman from the audience said the view to the City is worth more than the $30,000 a year for the slip rentals.

David Tomey, High Street, asked about the tanks for the fuel storage and also the pump-out station. David Pritchett said anticipation is to bury the fuel tanks. The sewage pump-out will be at the gas pump facility.  It will be a pressurized system that will feed to the gravity system.  

David Tomey asked if it is the intent of the committee reviewing the PWCD modifications to still include the marina in the PWCD.  Todd Taylor said it is still in the PWCD.  David Tomey asked if the City and Yacht Club would be exempt from complying with the parking requirements. Mayor Rippons said the government isn't going to exempt themselves. The standard is there for a marina facility. 

Bob Cavanaugh, School Street, said his concern is the visibility coming down High Street. With the 50-foot slips there are going to be large boats that will lessen the view. He asked if the 50-percent increase was really necessary because there are always open slips. David Pritchett said the view of the bridge is unobstructed and the Talbot County shoreline is unobstructed.

An unidentified person said she doesn't have a boat but she likes to go down to Long Wharf and look at the view and get her mind straight before she goes to work. There are a lot of people who go there to fish and have down time. She asked what impact all this change will have on those people.  David Pritchett said the fishing will not be affected.   He said he is trying to find the best blend he can with the least impact.  He feels they are close.

An unidentified gentleman said he thinks the marina should be as large as it can be.  There is a lot of tourism coming in by boat.  Because of the height limit of the bridge, they have a captive audience with the sailboat crowd.  They can't get up to the Hyatt.  David Pritchett said the City is allowing 20‑ to 25‑percent for transient boaters. 

David Pritchett said the first step is to adopt a plan. Then they will begin the bidding process to see what the costs will be for both sides (Yacht Club and City) for the expansion.  Because it was public request, they included all three activities that were being proposed. Everyone was concerned that they had three things going at the same time.

Jane Devlin, West End Citizens, said most people know the Association's view. She said these plans are an improvement. She applauded the City on the work that has been done so far. There are vast improvements but there are some issues that need to be discussed. She asked if the plans would be finalized tonight.  Mayor Rippons said tonight's meeting is to get further input and to show the citizens where the plans are to date.  Jane Devlin said they are very concerned about impeding on the existing public space. The issue of parking will need to be addressed.  If they are getting into the point of possibly limiting the slips that are there by possibly opening more of the view from High Street, that might take a lot of problems away.  She realizes studies have been done to see that this is very much needed.  She said if you keep something rare, you keep it unique.  She asked if they need to come to a compromise where they expand the marina as they know it is necessary, but also try to keep the integrity of the view coming down High Street.  Maybe shifting one line will eliminate some slips, but the community itself will benefit by the view line.  There should be an actual use determined for the lighthouse before the hard placement of the building.

Patrick Hornberger, Chairman of the Lighthouse Committee, said the lighthouse will be completely finished inside and will be used as a dockmaster's office.  There may also be some other uses, but it will not be empty shell. 

Rob Collison suggested putting this topic back on the agenda when they get the cost estimates in four to six weeks.  Parking can be further discussed at that time.  David Pritchett said with the way it was figured, the available parking is exceeded by 26 percent over the requirement.

Wayne Warner said Mr. Pritchett should be commended with these new drawings. He has made an honest effort to take into consideration all of the things the public has been talking about.

David Tomey asked if is possible that since the Yacht Club is leasing the slips that the City take possession of the whole entire expansion as well as what is there now and basically takes money through grants to build the marina and then dedicate a certain amount of slips for the exclusive use by the Yacht Club.  David Pritchett said they have explored that option.  In accepting grant money, there are certain legalities involved.  They are looking at it intensely to try to find the best way.  David Tomey said as a taxpayer he would feel a lot better about providing parking for them because we would be leasing the slips to them.  David Pritchett said they have $750,000 so far that they have already banked for this expansion and have requested another $1 million. The Department of Natural Resources pays 50 percent of the municipal side. 

APPOINTMENTS

Representative from Dorchester Lodge 223 to Hold Annual Organization Day Weekend Thursday, October 21 through Sunday, October 24-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request and included a noise variance.  Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Impact Fees-Rob Collison said this discussion is being held to specifically categorize the amount which is currently $4500 and to possibly adjust it to allow for more than just water and sewer and increase it more for public safety.  The consultant's recommendations are limited to the following: public safety cannot exceed $3000; streets and roads cannot exceed $2000; parks and recreation cannot exceed $200; water cannot exceed $1500; and sewer cannot exceed $2800 of the $4500. 

Commissioner Cephas made a recommendation to accept it as proposed. Commissioner Knox said he would like to see it increased to $6000 because there is a lot going on in the City. The water bills and taxes have gone up and he hasn't seen much improvement in Cambridge. The City needs to be prepared for all the new development. He is not in favor of an excise tax because it is too liberal. Cambridge may need a new water tower.  A neighboring town just spent $2 million for one. The public safety building has a big price tag. The City streets are bad. If we don't have the impact fees (and he is a firm believer that if we don't have the $6000), we will pay for it.  Our property taxes will go up.  We are not going to be able to afford it.  The developers are coming here to make a dollar. They will make their dollar and ride off and the City will have to fix what they don't fix.  People are already complaining about their developments and they are not even a year old.  David Pritchett told him that we need a better building code enforcement.  If the City goes to $6000, the developers will still come.  He is not concerned about the people who have not got here yet; he is concerned about the people who are here already.  An excise tax is way out of line. The City has the luxury of increasing the impact fee. Statistics say they can increase it to $9500. 

Commissioner Brooks said she would agree to increase it by $1500 for the sole purpose that at the present time, 99 percent of the houses coming to this community are priced $250,000 or above.  She does have a concern for the small one percent of low- to moderate-income housing that we hope will get off the ground and be built.  The extra $1500 or the already existing $4500 may put them in a predicament where they will not be able to build low income housing.  She would like to see language put in there where we could use a sliding scale fee. Last week it was recommended that we go to an excise tax; however, it was not stated that we could not have a sliding scale fee for low income people.  Mayor Rippons said if you keep it as an impact fee, you cannot have a sliding scale.  There is broader latitude within the confines of an excise tax where you could construct language to allocate a different measure.  Rob Collison said he will have a report at the next meeting about an excise tax sliding scale.  The consultant said for the impact fees you should not have a sliding scale. The legislation that approved our impact fees gives Council the ability to abate or waive some of those, particularly if it is a project such as a CDBG project that requires some local contribution.  The sliding scale is a problem.

Peg Wolff, Locust Street, asked if the City is requiring developers to pay for all the road improvements. Mayor Rippons said that is correct.  She feels if the City could charge $9000, they should do it. We will be left with all the problems of the infrastructure, police protection, etc.  Commissioner Knox said he has to rely on the department heads for their experience and he has to rely on the public's comments to help make his decisions.

Commissioner Cephas made a motion to allocate $1500 for public safety; $1400 for sewer; $100 to parks; $700 for water; and $800 to roads for a total of $4500.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Amnesty for Interest on Demolitions-Commissioner Cephas said if the property owners have a problem paying now, they will not pay with an amnesty. Mayor Rippons said the property owner with the largest bill heard about the discussion last time said if that is Council's privilege, he will bring them a check.  Commissioner Cephas said nobody gives him an amnesty on his taxes. If you have a property, you have an obligation to do certain things.  Commissioner Knox said he sees familiar faces and also sees rental properties that are falling down and these folks are making money off the properties.  When they decide they don't want to invest in the properties, they let them go and the City has to take care of them. The City tears them down at the taxpayer's expense and they still own the property.  Rob Collison said the reason Ed Kinnamon suggested this was because we recently changed our Code.  Previously the demolition costs were not collected as taxes so if you just had the demolition costs and not a failure to pay taxes, it could not be taken to a tax sale.  The lien of the demolition was only on the property that was demolished.  If you have $3000 or $4000 in a demolition lien on a property which is often not even buildable because of the new zoning requirements, the City only had the lien on that particular property.  Now the lien is on any property that the property owner owns.  The feeling in waiving the interest, was that we may get some of these paid and the City gets reimbursed for some of the expenses.  They are not proposing to waive the actual cost to the City.  David Pritchett said the one thing that complicates these cases is that the majority of the lots are unbuildable.   Nobody made a motion to continue.

Tax Abatement for Newly-Annexed Business-Rob Collison said the substance of this was agreed to by the prior Council. They agreed to give the owners of the Cambridge Inn a 13-year tax abatement from real property taxes.  Because the property was annexed, the City now receives room taxes. The property owner agreed to pay $100,000 which was their portion of the anticipated cost of extending the water and sewer. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to adopt the previous Council's recommendation. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Appoint/Re-Appoint Members to the Housing Board of Review-Mayor Rippons said the members are appointed by the Mayor with the confirmation of Council.  He introduced the slate of James Slacum, David Cannon, Olwyn Maxey, John Matthews III, Grady Wilson, Octavene Saunders, and Donald Sydnor.  Commissioner Knox said he thought the Council was to give recommendations. Mayor Rippons said there was indication that if anyone who was presently in the committee wished to be retained, that they continue.  Two people did not wish to continue on the committee.  One of the new people came from a direct recommendation from Council and the other person was selected because he is in the building trade.  Commissioner Cephas said he thought two people recommended Ms. Johnson.  Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the slate of people recommended by the Mayor.  The motion died due to lack of a second.  Commissioner Brooks made a motion for another slate.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  No vote was taken.  Mayor Rippons asked for the Council's recommendations at the next meeting.

Street Lights for New Developments-David Pritchett said they discussed at a previous meeting the requirements for new subdivisions. They are lacking the specific document from the City requiring anything specific.  The Code reads that the developer shall submit their proposal for lighting to be approved by the Department of Public Works.  They have been requiring the Granville-style light. The only thing they are flexible on is the diameter and the height of the pole. In some developments it is appropriate to have a little taller light.  Rob Collison said now the City is getting some large track developments.  The developer gets the light that the City requires, and then it is turned over to the City on a lease system.  The City then has to pay the $20/month lease.  It would be beneficial to the City to require the developer to purchase the lighting system, dedicate it to the City, and then the City would do the maintenance.  Mayor Rippons said even if you went out and bid for a maintenance contract, it would be less than $20/month.  David Pritchett said the only other thing to consider would be maintenance of the line running from light to light; however, this would be rare.  This would be the City's burden.  There are pros and cons.  Rob Collison said he will draft a document and David Pritchett can review it for the next meeting. 

Council to Render Decision on Making Hughlett Street a One-Way Street-Mayor Rippons said written documents are usually sent out to residents of a street directly affected.  Ed Kinnamon asked for Council's permission to allow him, within the next two weeks, to send out notices to the residents of Hughlett Street and invite them to the next meeting.  David Pritchett said they did not break a City policy because there is none.  There is a policy for changing a street name.  The street has been one-way for nine days now and that, in effect, is a notice to the public.  All they have received is thank-you for doing it.  Mayor Rippons said it is Council's privilege to move forward with this. 

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Miles & Stockbridge to Create a Healthcare Zoning District and to Rezone Properties Adjacent to Dorchester General Hospital from R‑3 or PWCD to the Proposed Healthcare District-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to refer this request to Planning and Zoning.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously. 

Request from Salvation Army to Have Small Building in Front of Pedestrian Mall During the Christmas Season as They Have in Previous Years-Ed Kinnamon said many years ago the Salvation Army had a small building where they can set out their kettle and play music during the Christmas season.  It was sitting on the sidewalk in front of the Pedestrian Mall. They would like to do this again.  David Pritchett said a 4-ft by 6-ft building would not impede pedestrian traffic.  Chief Malik said he is fine with this also.  Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Presentation of PWCD Draft Report-Marshall Rickert, Tom Keating, and Bill Craig came to Council to present the committee's proposed final report for consideration by the Mayor and City Council and the Planning Commission.  Marshall Rickert said the study committee was formed as a result of a resolution that the Mayor and Council voted for on April 12, 2004 to establish a six-month moratorium on new projects in the PWCD.  The committee was appointed to evaluate the zone and come back with recommendations for changes and density development standards, etc.  They concluded that giving the wording of the resolution, they were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the PWCD as a guide to the development of the district as a location providing a balance of new development opportunity in keeping with the creek location but also preserving the rights of the property owners and the interest of open space and other interests at large.  The PWCD boundary includes the municipal park and marina.  Any recommendations that they made regarding different boundaries do not affect that area.  They reviewed all the land use ordinances in effect in the area. They then reviewed existing construction and designs that had received final approval to go under construction in the zone.  They reviewed other regulations dealing with water usage, noise, traffic, etc. to see how those regulations might have been applied or should be applied in the future.  They proceeded to make recommendations for changes to land uses and design and development standards. The PWCD zoning ordinance is 20 years old. 

The boundary on the western side of the creek does not meet the downtown historic boundary.  It comes to the Academy Street area and then the historic boundary comes to the alley behind Race Street.   There is an area of existing in-fill that is neither managed for historic preservation nor is it being managed for creek-related newer development opportunities.  On the eastern side, particularly in the Dorchester Avenue/Cedar Street area down to Aurora,  there seems to be an existing commercial corridor growing in the Dorchester Avenue area. There is an area of in-fill that benefits neither from commercial development encouragement nor from the development opportunities that might present themselves if it were in the PWCD. The existing development has been largely residential. Virtually all of the newer development which is under permit or under construction now is residential.  One of the original goals of the PWCD ordinance was to encourage mixed-use development combining commercial, residential, recreational, and other type uses being developed in harmony.  The density of the development is starting to jeopardize views.  This is of considerable concern as it regards the entrance way into the historic area of the town. The architectural design standards that are in the ordinance are very arbitrary. They were written very specifically to materials and colors and they are 20 years old.  They are constraining developers from coming up with newer materials and development techniques that might be more appropriate and more in keeping with the zone.  The project review and approval process is unclear in terms of what the ordinance requires on behalf of the developers and also it requires on behalf of the Planning Commission.  The implementation and enforcement of the ordinance is unclear. Once the Planning Commission has approved a final approval on a PWCD project, there is question as to what teeth the Planning Commission has to enforce the design standards and architectural standards that were contained in the final presentation.  Because of the development patterns that have taken place over time, there are beginning to be traffic flow impediments which can be addressed proactively. 

They are recommending that the existing permitted uses be retained in the zone. They are recommending that there be a specific use defined as "mixed-use".  They are proposing that it be defined as a residential use plus one or more additional permitted uses in a single project. 

They are recommending that the western PWCD boundary be extended to meet the downtown historic district in the Academy Street area only.  The Sun Trust property is both in the historic district and the PWCD.  They are recommending it be taken out of the PWCD.   They are recommending that the eastern PWCD boundary be extended to Dorchester Avenue along Cedar Street and as far to the north as the alley way behind Aurora between Aurora and Maryland Avenue. They are recommending that the zone be broken into two sub-zones.  PWCD-1 would be a zone along the western bank of Cambridge Creek from the Point property to the properties at the former Cambridge Marine and Camtec which border the DNR property.  The remainder would be designated PWCD-2.

There are five parcels of publicly-owned land in the zone. They are encouraging the City, County, and State to enter into discussions regarding the feasibility of preserving the publicly-owned land in the zone for public use and open space.

They are recommending that the current level of permitted residential units in the PWCD be increased to reflect the increase in the size of the zone.  There is a ceiling of 850 dwelling units in the whole PWCD. The existing and permitted development that is in place right now is over 600 residential units.  They are recommending that on top of that the zone itself be made larger so they are recommending that a higher ceiling of residential units be established for the zone.

In terms of recommended uses in the design standards, in the PWCD-1 zone, they are recommending that the existing height and density standards remain in force.  There are five parcels that are either under construction or under permit that are being developed to that established standard.  There is a technical recommendation as to the method of addressing the height.  They are recommending it be measured from the 100-year flood plain plus one foot which is a 7-foot elevation.  In the PWCD‑2 zone, they are recommending that a maximum height limit for residential development be established at 48 feet and that a maximum density of 15 residential units per acre.  This is in keeping with the permitted development that is taking place right now in Deep Harbour that has been rezoned as a PWRD.

To encourage developers to come up with mixed-use projects, they are recommending that a 10 percent density bonus and a bonus of up to 60 feet in height be permitted in this zone for mixed-use projects.

They are recommending all other height standards stay the same as existing including the 75-feet for hotels.  They are recommending that since that particular zone has more land that is away from the creek line, that the height be measured from the curb or edge of the pavement which is a standard surveyor's practice. 

They are recommending that the project review and approval process as well as the process for enforcement and implementation be clarified and strengthened.  It appears that the final approval rests with the Planning Commission and not the City Council. 

They recommend a standing committee be formed to evaluate, and from time to time modify, the architectural and building material standards as new products come on the market and techniques evolve and that these standards be used for guidance and that they are not arbitrary standards as to specific colors, lettering for signs, building materials, etc.

In terms of the traffic mitigation, they are recommending that Dorchester Avenue, as appropriate, be upgraded to relief traffic flow off of Maryland Avenue which will increase as a result of bridge openings.  They are recommending that Cedar Street be upgraded as a main entrance into downtown Cambridge and that this be done as developers come in and have them contribute to the upgrades.  In particular the City should obtain the additional right-of-way that is necessary as Cedar Street approached Race Street so when the time is appropriate, it can be the main entrance into the downtown.   They are recommending that Academy Street be widened and upgraded from Cedar Street to Muir Street.   They are recommending that public parking be established as the opportunity presents itself between Academy Street and the downtown historic district. 

They recommend that the City continues to ensure consistent enforcement of all applicable ordinances, land use, traffic, noise, and other ordinances as appropriate.  If required, they are recommending that scheduled openings be considered for the Maryland Avenue drawbridge.

They are asking that Council consider their recommendations and hopefully adopt them and direct the City staff to prepare drafts of recommended ordinance revisions and maps.

Cambridge Creek Bridge - Timed Openings-David Pritchett said the City is experiencing significant back-up problems on Maryland Avenue.  It is very common practice to implement a scheduled opening to help alleviate the problem.  He has contacted State Highway.  The Coast Guard is the regulating authority that would permit scheduled openings. The Council agreed that he should move forward.

Request To Go To Bid for Administration Vehicle for DPW-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Discussion on Revision of Boundary Lines Near Trenton Street Pumping Station Adjacent to Deep Harbour Development-Rob Collison supplied a portion of a survey plat.  There were negotiations between Deep Harbour and DPW for the parcel of property on which the pumping station is located.  The City is giving away some property and acquiring some property so it is more of a rectangular shape. The City will be reserving the right for a 20-ft-wide sewer easement that is not part of the boundary line revision.  DPW approves the revision.  It will also slightly widen Trenton Street.  Commissioner Cephas made a motion to authorize execution of the document.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

Approve PO 3363 Caldabaugh Communications (Minitor Pagers for RFC) $14,200-This item has been postponed until a later meeting.

Approve PO 3364 Medtronics (Cardiac Monitor Upgrades) $36,784 (Matching Grant from State)-Commissioner Brooks made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded it.  The motion passed 4:0.

Approve PO 3367 Motorola (Radios & Equipment for RFC) $54,535-This item has been postponed until a later meeting.

Approve PO 3366 Motorola (Radios & Equipment for CEMS) $12,673-This item has been postponed until a later meeting.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Commissioner Brooks thanked the citizens for their input tonight.  She also thanked David Pritchett for his quick response for a drainage problem. 

Commissioner Brooks said she has spoken to several concerned citizens and committee members and they have expressed some concerns in some of the Commissioners' responsibilities as well as the Mayor's.  Commissioner Brooks recommended removing from the City Charter the personnel duties that the Mayor currently has. She made a motion to have Rob Collison draft and prepare the necessary resolution for the Commission.  Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Commissioner Cephas commended Ed Kinnamon for the excellent job he has done throughout the years.  He also commended the Mayor; he is not a part-time Mayor.  There is only so much the Mayor and Mr. Kinnamon can do by themselves with the rapid growth of Cambridge.  We are looking at an additional 16,000 people coming into the City.  He feels the time has come for us to have a City Manager with a contractual position for a couple of years.  It is taking nothing from Mayor Rippons or Ed Kinnamon.  He feels they could continue to do the great job they are doing.  Commissioner Cephas made a motion to have someone look into drawing up some criteria and qualifications for a City Manager and we move forward.  Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 3:1 with Commissioner Travers opposed.

Commissioner Knox said the Sailwinds Management Board resigned effective December 31, 2004.  He made a motion to form a Sailwinds Management recruitment committee to seek qualified individuals who are interested in serving on the Sailwinds Management Board.  The committee shall report back to the City Council in 30 days.  The previous board has done an excellent job.  Mayor Rippons said three (the majority) have said they would come back with the consideration that the board remains autonomous just as it has been and with the remaining board members and the Mayor be allowed to choose the other two members. If it goes the way Commissioner Knox suggested, they will resign.   Commissioner Knox said the Council has a signed resignation from all parties involved in the Sailwinds Management Board. The Charter clearly states that the agreement may be terminated at any time by the City upon written notice.  They notified Council that they are no longer going to take part in this. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. Commissioner Travers said he does not think the City Council should be managing Sailwinds Park.  These guys have done an excellent job.  They talked to the three individuals and they are willing to stay on if the City Council doesn't appoint the new members.  Commissioner Knox said he has no desire to run Sailwinds.  He has suggested each Commissioner appoint a board member and one City Commissioner shall serve as a non-voting liaison member of the board who shall report to the City Council on a regular basis.  There are ample people in our community to sit on the board and do an excellent job.  Commissioner Cephas said he spoke to one gentleman who resigned but he said he thought about it and changed his mind.  He would really like to see that gentleman stay on the board.  He feels if they want to stay on, the appropriate thing to do would be to rescind the letter they submitted. Council has to react on what is placed before them.  Mayor Rippons said he will ask them to prepare a letter at the board meeting tomorrow night.  Commissioner Cephas said he went to a board meeting and he was impressed. They made Sailwinds a positive place.  They are now making money and he would like to see it continue. He is in favor of allowing those who want to stay on remain on the board.  He doesn't see any reason why the Council should not appoint the other two people.  Mayor Rippons said the board understands what the two members who have left have brought to the table. He said it is the same thing with the Empowerment Center. The City allows a board to go in there and do the day-to-day operation.  The Sailwinds Board wants to have the same autonomy.  They feel they are in the best position, as a group, to decide who the other members will be. If Council has people they feel are qualified, they will talk to them.  Commissioner Brooks said she knows two other people who are interested in being on the Board.

She said she heard the Mayor say "we" and that excludes the Commissioners and she has a problem with that because they are a team-all of them. She agrees that the Commissioners should be able to appoint somebody that each of them would like to appoint.  She would have no problem appointing one of the people who wishes to return, but they would have to go through the same process as the two new ones.  Commissioner Knox said he has not put down the job they have done. They do an excellent job.  The motion passed 3:1 with Commissioner Travers opposed.  Commissioner Travers asked Commissioner Knox to appoint a board member for him; he will not appoint one.  He said the Council has no business interfering with Sailwinds Park.  It will be a total flop.  Commissioner Cephas said if the three want to come back, he doesn't have a problem with it. He doesn't have a problem with the Mayor being on the board but he thinks Council should have a say in electing the other two members.

Rob Collison said the prior Council held a public hearing on the abandonment of a portion of Rambler Road.  There was no opposition.   Commissioner Cephas made a motion to authorize the Mayor to execute a quit-claim deed.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion passed 4:0.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 10:54 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Tuesday, October 12, 2004, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer